Happy π Day!

Hi Folks:

It’s March 14 once again, the one day of the year where everyone has the right to be at least a little more irrational than usual. For some of us that isn’t easy, but we do our best. 🙂

For the past several years we’ve honoured π Day by offering glimpses of that most alchemical of processes (pastry), although one year we shifted to Michael Smith’s Potato Bacon Cheddar Tart (with a bacon crust) and one year we offered a Cast Iron Shepherd’s Pie. This year we thought we’d shift once again and go with something a little more romantic. As the song goes, “When the moon hits your eye like a big peachzza pie…” WAITAMINUTE. Peachzza? Why not?

Flatbread in varying forms has been around for centuries, and while most tend to be savoury in nature, there’s nothing to suggest one can’t twist flatbread toward dessert as well. When we lived in BC’s Okanagan Valley, peach season was (and still is) a highly-coveted celebration. Woe betide those who failed to show up at the Saturday market much later than the crack of dawn because fresh peaches always sold out early.

NB: if you’re of the overly anxious type and can’t wait for peach season, it is possible to make peachzza with canned peaches. Just make sure to drain them well first. You can drink the drained-off juice separately (we promise not to tell anyone 🤫)

Okay… we won’t be making pastry today, but we will need some pizza dough to start with. We’ll kick things off with Mike’s Pizza Dough:


1 pkg. (1 tbsp./ 15 ml) active dry yeast
1¼ cups (300 ml) warm water (105-115°F/ 40-45°C)
1 tsp. (5 ml) white sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
3 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
~3-3½ cups (750-875 ml) all-purpose or unbleached flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for about five minutes for the yeast to rise. Stir in salt, oil, and 2 cups (500 ml) of the flour, mixing until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes, adding flour as necessary to the board to keep the dough from sticking. Use only as much flour as necessary. Place in a greased bowl; turn greased side up, cover with a towel and place in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour for the dough to proof. (Dough is ready when an indentation remains when the dough is touched).

While dough is proofing, prepare toppings to be used for the pizza. Once the dough is ready, preheat oven and pizza stone to 400°F (200°C) – put stone in cold oven and heat. Remove dough from bowl to lightly floured board and form into a flat disk. The dough should be smooth, soft and elastic. Using fingers or a rolling pin, working from the center out, arrange dough into a flat circle. Alternately, pick up dough between fingers and, working around in a circle, allow dough to hang while working it around and around between the fingers. Lightly flour the dough if necessary to prevent sticking, but don’t use too much flour. Keeping an even thickness, make the dough into a 14” (35 cm) circle.

Remove stone from oven to steel rack or equivalent surface. Handle carefully (hot!) Sprinkle the surface of the stone lightly with corn meal if desired, but do not use flour, as it will burn. Arrange dough over the surface of the stone, arranging and prodding if necessary to shape the dough to the stone. Prick the surface of the dough lightly with a fork to prevent bubbling. Cover with toppings, etc. and return stone to oven. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes until done.

NB: If you’re gluten-free, it’s probably possible to make this dough with gluten-free flour and psyllium husk but we haven’t tried it. Depending on the nature of your allergies you may be able to use Einkorn flour or Spelt flour, but only you will be able to answer that question.

To that end, here’s a recipe for gluten-free pizza dough:

The Best Gluten-Free Pizza*


Achieving a crispy crust and a tender interior on a gluten-free pizza was no easy feat. First, we developed a gluten-free flour blend that mimicked many of the properties of wheat flour: white rice flour for starch, brown rice flour for wheaty flavor, potato starch for tenderness, tapioca starch for spring and stretch, and milk powder for browning and structure. To mimic the gluten in wheat flour, we used a small amount of ground psyllium husk. To create a tender, airy, open crumb, we significantly increased the water in the dough and then gently par-baked the crusts in order to drive off the excess moisture once it had served its purpose. Finally, we added a small amount of ground almond flour to introduce fat and increase crispiness without leaving the crust greasy.


16 ounces (3 1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup) ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see related content)
2 ½ ounces (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) almond flour
1 ½ tablespoons powdered psyllium husk
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 ½ cups warm water (100 degrees)
¼ cup vegetable oil
Vegetable oil spray


This recipe requires letting the dough rise for 1½ hours and pre-baking the crusts for about 45 minutes before topping and baking. If you don’t have almond flour, you can process 2 1/2 ounces of blanched almonds in a food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Psyllium husk is available at health food stores. You can substitute 16 ounces (2 2/3 cups plus 1/4 cup) King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or 16 ounces (2 2/3 cup plus ½ cup) Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour for the America’s Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see related content). Note that pizza crust made with King Arthur will be slightly denser and not as chewy, and pizza crust made with Bob’s Red Mill will be thicker and airier and will have a distinct bean flavor.


  1. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour blend, almond flour, psyllium, baking powder, salt, and yeast on low speed until combined. Slowly add warm water and oil in steady stream until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is sticky and uniform, about 6 minutes. (Dough will resemble thick batter.)
  2. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until inside of dough is bubbly (use spoon to peer inside dough), about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough will puff slightly but will not rise.)
  3. Adjust oven racks to middle and lower positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray liberally with oil spray. Transfer half of dough to center of 1 prepared sheet. Using oil-sprayed rubber spatula, spread dough into 8-inch circle. Spray top of dough with oil spray, cover with large sheet of plastic, and, using your hands, press out dough to 11½-inch round, about ¼-inch-thick, leaving outer ¼ inch slightly thicker than center; discard plastic. Repeat with remaining dough and second prepared sheet.
  4. Place prepared sheets in oven and heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake dough until firm to touch, golden brown on underside, and just beginning to brown on top, 45 to 50 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer crusts to wire rack and let cool.


  1. One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, set baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Transfer 1 par-baked crust to pizza peel. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread ½ cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of crust, leaving ¼-inch border around edge. Sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. Carefully slide crust onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pizza to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat with second crust, ½ cup tomato sauce (you will have extra sauce), remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. Par-baked and cooled crusts can sit at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Completely cooled crusts can be wrapped with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Frozen crusts can be topped and baked as directed without thawing.

A Gluten-Free Crust That Doesn’t Fall Flat
With psyllium husk and plenty of water, our dough has the structure and elasticity that others lack.

OUR CRUST: Airy and tender

Forget the Dough: Make a Batter

Most traditional pizza dough requires a 60 percent hydration level, but gluten-free dough prepared with this ratio will be too stiff. We more than double the hydration—to 133 percent—for a gluten-free dough that can stretch and rise. But because it is so wet, it can’t be shaped like traditional dough.

  1. Drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheet, then spread it into rough circle with rubber spatula. Spritz dough with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and press into even round with raised edge. To avoid gummy results, prebake crust, then top and bake to finish.

Building Our Own Gluten-Free Flour Blend

When developing our gluten-free pizza recipe, we wanted a wheat-free substitute for all-purpose flour that would work in our pizza dough as well as in cookies, muffins, and cakes. We found that store-bought gluten-free blends perform inconsistently; one product might deliver great cookies but subpar cakes. For that reason, we decided to create our own.

To start, we reviewed how wheat flour works. When hydrated, starch granules in the flour swell, and with the help of mixing or kneading (or sufficient time), the proteins in the flour link up to form long elastic strands called gluten. These strands surround the gelled starch granules, creating a network that enables rise and a sturdy structure. Since no single gluten-free flour or starch performs in this way, a blend was necessary. We found that two flours—white rice flour and brown rice flour—provided the right baseline of protein, starch, and flavor. And since different starches absorb water, swell, and gel at different temperatures and to different degrees, we enlisted two kinds—potato starch and tapioca starch—to create the right amount of chew and structure. Finally, the proteins and sugars in milk powder ensure that baked goods brown properly.

Be aware: A gluten-free flour blend is a complicated mixture, and thus brands aren’t easily interchangeable. It’s best to work with recipes that have been developed around a particular blend.

WHITE RICE FLOUR: Provides a neutral-tasting, refined protein/starch base.
BROWN RICE FLOUR: Supplies proteins that, along with those in the white rice flour, create a network that mimics gluten. Also provides a nutty, wheaty flavor.
POTATO STARCH: Contributes large starch granules that gel at higher temperatures and set to a more extensive, open network when cool, thus providing tenderness.
TAPIOCA STARCH: Provides smaller granules that gel at lower temperatures, forming a more compact network when cool, thus providing chew and elasticity.
MILK POWDER: Contributes proteins that help improve structure and, along with its sugars, undergo the Maillard browning reaction, which leads to more complex flavor.

Okay, while your dough is proofing, now is the time to prepare your peaches. If you’re using fresh peaches, simply remove the pits and slice the peaches into thin slices. How many peaches depends on the size of your pizza stone (and how many slices accidentally find their way into your mouth while you’re working) but choose 3-4 large peaches as a good place to start. We don’t bother to peel them but you can if you don’t like the fuzziness. If you’re using canned peaches, they’ll likely be in halves and you’ll have to slice them.

Starting in the center of the dough, place the slices in a radial pattern heading toward the edge of the dough. Once you’re finished adding your peaches, the finishing touches are up to you. We usually simply sprinkle brown sugar over top, sometimes adding a dash of cinnamon as well, But this is your peachzza so be as bold and adventurous as you want to be! You could begin by spreading a little melted butter or olive oil on your rolled-out dough. You could add walnuts or hazelnuts for a little extra crunch, toss in a sprinkle of nutmeg, and/or make up an icing sugar drizzle (for after the peachzza comes out of the oven and has cooled a bit)

NB: Even with fresh peaches, the heat will push a fair bit of moisture out of the fruit. Make sure you roll the edges of the crust and (if possible) place a baking sheet under the pan to catch spills. Enjoy!!


* the recipe for gluten-free pizza dough comes from the Cook’s Illustrated website and is under their copyright. The recipe was free to access at the time we downloaded it, but if anyone objects to it being here please let us know and we’ll remove it from this post. Otherwise, we encourage you to check out their site and various magazines as they really put in a lot of effort to perfect their recipes!

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